Pastor’s Letter: August 20, 2023

Pastor’s Letter: August 20, 2023

Pastor’s Letter: August 20, 2023

18 Aug 2023 | Posted by: chadmin

Dear friend,

We had a good first week of school. Everyone seems to be glad to be back as a community. It always takes a bit for the routines to settle, especially with the kids getting on a school-year sleep schedule! We have a few new staff members this year, however we continue to be blessed with stability in our faculty. This continuity allows them to grow each year as excellent educators. Please pray for all those in charge of caring for our next generation of St. Philomena Tigers, that they grow to be faithful Catholics in love with Jesus and His Church.

The first reading this weekend, from the Prophet Isaiah, addresses the Old Testament Jewish community. He calls them to see that foreigners who live in the truth belong to the fold of God. This aspect of the Scriptures calls us to see that God’s love is for everyone. No one, no matter the race or nationality, is excluded from saying “yes” to God’s call to heaven. St. Paul further points out that God allows all of us the freedom to choose disobedience in order that we might return through his mercy. God simply won’t force us into His love, but through Christ we see the length at which God goes to communicate truth to us. The Mass is the great moment in time when we let God into our lives so that His merciful love unites us as one family.

Last week we read about the fear St. Peter experienced when he paid attention to the storms around him. The Gospels and the spiritual tradition show us that the only healthy fear is “the fear of the Lord.” Fear of the Lord is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit that invites us into a proper perspective of our relationship to God and one another. Jesus said to not fear those who have no eternal power over us, but to have a holy fear of the only one who will judge us: God. When we place these words of Jesus into the whole of His Gospel message, we learn it’s meant to guide us to the gates of heaven. Fear of the Lord is not an invitation to inaction, but a call to understand His loving desire for each of us. God is love. We all have the personal power to reject His love and turn toward selfish sin. If we properly fear judgment, we seek to implement the teachings of Christ. The words of Christ pull us out of our selfish concerns, humbly seeing our relation to all of humanity. The gift of the Spirit, Fear of the Lord, is not something then to be “feared” but something that helps us understand how desperately God calls each of us to authenticity and truth. To authentically live in the Fear of the Lord, we invite the Holy Spirit to increase our awareness of pride, greed, anger, lust, gluttony, envy, and laziness. The personal identification of our faults leads to opportunities for growth and a thoughtful reflection of our self-explanation to God at judgment. May we all not only seek this spiritual guidance, but also follow the truth of the Spirit, no matter how challenging.

God bless,

Father David